When she opened and heaved and birthed our daughter onto our mattress, I knew we’d never be rid of that bed—the one my dad offered to us, newlywed and broke, because “wouldn’t it be nice to have your old bed?” and my bride blurted out a grateful, “Sure!”

But I never told them how another man had cornered a younger me on that bed, and how I had since lain on it, hoping the mattress might dilate so I could crown and disappear into the womb of the next life.

That is why I sleep on a secret ambivalence.

Kevin Simmons is a writer and teacher who lives in Tempe, Arizona.

Photo Credit: Tasha Lutek

9 Responses to “Gifts”

  1. Faith Junior says:

    I Love this

  2. Such powerful, heartbreaking, but also beautiful words and imagery. “…Hoping the mattress might dilate so I could crown and disappear into the womb of the next life.” – Wow–I’m blown away. You packed so much into 100 words. I’m going to share this, as much to give other writers a thrill of reading your powerful essay, and also as a reminder of the kind of writing to which I aspire. (Sorry to gush.)

  3. I love the comments above. The language they are using to acknowledge your story: heart-bruising, heart-opening. I believe you can let go once you’ve processed the events in a way that feels right to you. I wish you the best in the meantime.

  4. julie says:

    Powerful. Thanks!

  5. Sandra Brown says:

    Just goes to show that it’s not necessary to be explicit in order to to tell your pain.

  6. Patricia Bidar says:

    Heart-bruising, in a good way. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. What a beautiful, heart-opening story.

  8. Jon Remington says:

    I just wanna say that I think this was amazing.

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